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All you need to know about 'game-changing' pavement parking ban coming into effect next week


By Hector MacKenzie



Clear legislation to enforce a ban on pavement parking - a real hazard for many people - has been welcomed by Scotland.
Clear legislation to enforce a ban on pavement parking - a real hazard for many people - has been welcomed by Scotland.

THE "game-changing" impact of legislation allowing councils to impose fines for pavement parking from next week is being welcomed by one of the group's most adversely affected by the current free-for-all.

From Monday (December 11), pavement parking will be an offence in Scotland. Highland Council, amongst other local authorities, will be able to enforce this with penalty charge notices (PCN).

The PCN will be £100 or the removal of the vehicle in contravention.

In early 2024, there will be a grace period where warning notices will be issued for contraventions. Once the grace period has lapsed, penalty charge notices will be issued.

Guide Dogs Scotland today called the new pavement parking legislation "a game-changer" for people with sight loss.

In common with a number of other groups, it says pavement parking puts pedestrians in danger, including people with disabilities, older people and parents with children.

People with sight loss are particularly at risk as they may be forced to walk in the road with traffic which they cannot see.

Pavement parking can act as a barrier cutting off people with sight loss from work, study or social activities, it says.

It welcomes the fact that from December 11, local authorities will have a duty to tackle pavement parking in their area.

“We urge local authorities to make 2024 the year they end the scourge of pavement parking,” said Niall Foley, external affairs manager with Guide Dogs Scotland. The measures allowing councils to tackle pavement parking is a game-changer for people with sight loss in terms of getting out and about independently.

“Parking on pavements is a nuisance for everyone, but potentially dangerous if you have sight loss and are forced onto the road and can’t see traffic coming towards you. Tackling the challenge of vehicles blocking the way will be a major boost to the confidence of people with a vision impairment in getting get out and about independently.”

Guide dog owner Elaine MacKenzie said she and guide dog Tessy are often forced out onto the road when their path is blocked by a parked vehicle, putting them in real danger.

Clear legislation to enforce a ban on pavement parking - a real hazard for many people - has been welcomed by Scotland.
Clear legislation to enforce a ban on pavement parking - a real hazard for many people - has been welcomed by Scotland.

Said Elaine: “I remember a time when there was a work van parked on the pavement. It was a very busy road but we didn't have any other option to get past. I had to go on the road to actually get to where I needed to go, and I was terrified.

“Sometimes you're walking towards traffic or you can be walking with traffic coming from behind you, which is really scary if you can't see. The new legislation will make a real difference to my everyday life. It will be one less thing to worry about when I am out and about with Tessy.”

Jon Attenborough, who lives with sight and hearing loss and has guide dog Sam, also welcomed the new measures.

“I have been a guide dog owner for seven and a half years and throughout that time I have regularly encountered vehicles parked on the pavement, obstructing our path,” said Perth-based Jon.

“This means that in order to navigate this obstacle, me and my guide dog are forced to walk out into the road to navigate around it. This is extremely dangerous, especially on busy streets with a main road.

“The Scottish Government legislation to ban pavement parking in Scotland is very welcome. It will certainly make life that little bit easier, and safer, when out and about with my guide dog, knowing that we shouldn’t encounter vehicles obstructing our path.” Alongside other stakeholders, Guide Dogs Scotland first lobbied for change in pavement parking legislation in 2011.

How we got to this stage

A responsible parking bill was subsequently introduced by Joe FitzPatrick MSP in 2012, but legislative uncertainty over whether the Scottish Government has necessary powers hampered efforts.

Guide Dogs Scotland contributed to then MSP Sandra White’s Footway and Double Parking Bill in 2015. However, the presiding officer confirmed the lack of powers to pass the Bill.

In February 2016 the Scotland Bill was amended by the House of Lords to finally give the Scottish Parliament powers over pavement parking. The principles of the Footway and Double Parking Bill were unanimously agreed by all MSPs but progress was halted as the term of parliament ended.

In May 2018 results from a consultation launched the previous autumn revealed that 83 per cent of respondents supported a ban on pavement parking.

June 2018 saw the introduction of the Transport (Scotland) Bill, which proposed the introduction of a Scotland-wide ban on pavement and double parking to make it easier for local authorities to ensure pavements and roads are safer and more accessible for all.

Finally, on October 10, 2019, the Scottish Parliament passed the Bill to implement Scotland-wide pavement parking prohibitions.

“After more than a decade of campaigning, we now welcome the introduction of pavement parking measures and will look to work with local authorities to ensure the pavement parking prohibitions are a success,” said Niall Foley of Guide Dogs Scotland.

Highland Council's stance

Highland Council has produced documentation outlining how pavement parking will be enforced.

It states: "The aim of the Act is to improve accessibility, particularly for vulnerable road users. It does this by allowing walkers and wheelers to use footways and dropped kerbs without being impeded by parked vehicles."

There will be three key changes in relation to parking:

  • a ban on pavement parking
  • a ban on double-parking (more than 50cm from the edge of a carriageway)
  • a ban on parking at dropped kerbs installed for pedestrian or cycle usage

From December 11, pavement parking will be an offence in Scotland: "We will be able to enforce this with penalty charge notices. The penalty charge notice will be £100 or the removal of the vehicle in contravention.

"In early 2024, there will be a grace period where warning notices will be issued for contraventions. Once the grace period has lapsed, penalty charge notices will be issued."

The new Contravention Enforcement Codes that will appear on any penalty charge notice will be as follows:

Code 100 - Parked on a pavement

Code 101 - Parked adjacent to dropped kerb at a known crossing point

Code 102 - Parked where no part of the vehicle is within 50 centimetres of the edge of the carriageway

Want to dig deeper into the legislation? See here.


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